In theory, my ritual is to clear the decks every Friday. A big part of my job(s?) is not missing a lot of minor deadlines and loose ends, and obviously the patient care portion is very important to stay current with, too. I do not do all of my next week’s planning on Friday, but I do have a shutdown routine that I aim to do weekly. (AIM to do. Nope, I am not perfect!)
My Weekly Work Shutdown Routine:
❏ Clear out EPIC (electronic health record) Inbox: ideally entirely empty of EVERYTHING or if not, ensure it is nearly empty and entirely triaged (ie no unread results). Mine is now mostly empty other than 3 lab call backs I will do on Monday because none are urgent and they probably will take a while and are better off done in office.
❏ Work Email: INBOX ZERO. Look, outlook is smiling at me. Now I need to close the window before a new message gets in . . .
❏ Work Non-Clinical To Do List: Looked at, groomed, thought about. I keep two, currently: a “Waiting/Follow Up” folder in my email that look through weekly, and a list in Apple Notes. This week I managed to fully review & clean up the list.
Why separate? Most of the things I leave in the email box are like . . . annoying things that I don’t even feel need to hit my real to do list yet. Or things that I am waiting for someone else to do, but just want the reminder. Usually these are also things to follow up (if needed) via email, so it’s right there.
The Apple Notes lists are more like active projects lists with associated notes. If you’re curious, here’s what my Notes setup looks like:
One bigger “Active Projects List” and then some other pages for dedicated projects/reference. I had to change my resident’s name to zzz to avoid sharing anything real 🙂
I look at the Active Projects List weekly in an ideal world but I have to admit sometimes the week ends in a series of calamities and it doesn’t happen.
BUT THIS WEEK IT DID, AND I AM HAPPY!
Something I don’t do . . .
I don’t usually set specific and concrete goals for next week yet. I have a basic idea in my mind, but Friday afternoons I honestly don’t have that mindset. I think it’s partly that I don’t WANT to spend my weekend pre-thinking about the potential stressors of the next week! Instead, I do this heavy duty planning on Monday mornings, early (ie around 5 am).
To allow for this, Monday is usually when I take a rest day from working out. I use this ‘extra’ time to really examine/highlight my calendar, and then, based on how much unstructured time I have available, I glance back at the cleaned-up lists (plus last week’s weekly list) and think about which projects I can move forward on.
It works . . . decently enough
I would like to end this post with another reminder that I am not a machine who always gets everything done 🙂 I do not usually drop balls, but admittedly on occasion I may THROW THEM on the floor and purposefully decide not to do them. Or I push them into the next decade (or so). For example, I had a clinical research project with some potential that sort of got started by a rotating med student* but I got tired of seeing it in my “Waiting/Follow Up” folder and then one week I just deleted it.
(I don’t really like doing research, so that’s not a huge surprise!)
((But I have to do SOME because PDs are expected to maintain some degree of ‘scholarly inquiry’))
I feel good today having gotten through all of that! Plans for the night include maybe finishing Tell Me Three Things, supervising Movie Night, and ice cream. Not too bad.
Happy Friday! (I recognize that probably no one wants to read this post at 5PM on Friday, but perhaps I’ll link to it next week!
And Happy New Year for those who celebrate Rosh Hashanah; the kids have requested apples & honey but admittedly the whole shebang feels pretty anticlimactic without family gatherings (ie, the part of the holiday that means something to me!).
* The student was a 4th year and had already graduated, moved to another institution, and started residency in another field. I figured I could always resurrect it if they contacted me and really wanted to finish!